Streaming Video-on-Demand (VOD) content online is convenient. The only caveat is – you need a high-speed internet connection to enjoy your viewing experience.
On the flip side, watching your favorite movie on a Blu Ray disc doesn’t need a high-speed internet connection. You don’t even need an internet connection at all. All you need is a Blu Ray player, and you can watch your favorite flicks in 1080p HD video and Dolby Digital Surround sound.
Watching movies on discs might sound a little old school, but they’re pretty handy when it comes to repeat viewing. If you have little kids, then you know what we’re talking about.
We tested the various devices on the market to bring you our topics for the best Blu Ray player under 50 bucks.
|Sony BDP BX370 Blu Ray Player||Sony UBP X700M Blu Ray Player||LG BP350 Blu Ray Player|
|Best Overall||Best for Visual Clarity||Best for Connectivity Options|
|9.12 x 7.75 x 1.56 in.||15 x 12 x 4 in.||11.93 x 10.79 x 3.03 in.|
|Wi-Fi, HDMI||HDMI||Wi-Fi, HDMI, USB|
Audio output mode
|Dolby TrueHD, DTS-HD surround||Hi-Res||Hi-Res|
|View on Amazon||View on Amazon||View on Amazon|
How We Tested and Compared These Products
When comparing the various Blu Ray players on the market, there are certain features we were looking for. High up on our list was the brand. We only reviewed Blu Ray players from trusted manufacturers like Sony, LG, Panasonic, and Phillips. These companies have a proven track record of producing high-quality consumer electronics built to stand the test of time.
Next, we were interested in the features they came with. They needed to support multiple playback formats and play Blu Ray discs. Bonus points if they could also stream online VOD content in high definition.
Their audio output needed to be high resolution. We were also interested in whether or not they supported DVD upconversion. We only ranked Blu Ray players that could upscale standard definition DVDs in 480i resolution to 1080p HD format with Dolby Digital sound.
Our Pick: Sony BDP BX370 Blu Ray Player – Best Overall
- Dimensions:12 x 7.75 x 1.56 inches
- Connector type: HDMI
- Connectivity technology: Wi-Fi, HDMI
- Audio output mode: Dolby TrueHD, DTS-HD surround
Sony is no stranger to the world of consumer electronics. The company has more than seven decades’ worth of experience and innovation in a wide range of high-quality products built using cutting-edge technology.
The Sony BDP-BX370 Blu Ray player is a testament to this sterling reputation. It comes with built-in Wi-Fi and HDMI capability, allowing you to stream all your favorite VOD content in 4 K Blu Ray.
One of the features of this particular device that sets it apart from most of the others on the market is the fact that it supports 1080p full high definition playback. This means you can watch Blu Ray movies in full HD for superior image clarity and color depth to get a truly cinematic experience right from the comfort of your home.
Here’s where things get interesting. If you’re watching movies from standard-definition DVDs, the BDP-BX370 upscales the picture quality to near HD resolution for prime video viewing. The playback quality we got was nothing short of outstanding. This is thanks largely to the TRILUMINOS technology integrated into the player that delivers a wider-than-average color spectrum to reveal more true-to-life textures, colors, and tones.
As far as sound quality goes, the BDP-BX370’s audio output is phenomenal in every regard. It generates high-fidelity Dolby Digital sound with Dolby DTS-HD and Dolby TrueHD surround as well as Dolby Atmos and Dolby Digital Plus. The installation process is quick and easy with the HDMI cable included in the pack.
All in all, the performance of the Sony BDP-BX370 was impressive all around. If you’re looking for a slightly cheaper one retailing for around $50, consider this pre-owned, renewed option.
- Supports VOD 4k streaming
- Superior audio quality thanks to Dolby DTS-HD and TrueHD
- Upscales standard video formats to near HD
- It comes with built-in Wi-Fi
- Supports screen mirroring
- It may freeze when streaming VOD content in higher resolutions
- Enjoy Blu-ray Disc movies in Full HD
- Upscale your DVDs to near HD quality
- Stream wirelessly from a host of online entertainment providers
Sony UBP X700M Blu Ray Player – Best for Visual Clarity
- Dimensions: 15 x 12 x 4 inches
- Connector type: HDMI, RCA
- Connectivity technology: HDMI
- Audio output mode: Hi-res audio
The Sony UBP-X700M is undoubtedly one of the best Blu Ray players as far as visual clarity goes. The level of picture detail you get during video playback is unmatched. The device uses 4K Ultra HD technology to provide up to four times the resolution you get with standard Blu Ray players.
This high-definition display is also evident when streaming VOD content. The device upscales everything you watch to 4K, whether you’re streaming online content or watching your favorite movies on standard-definition DVDs.
The high resolution doesn’t just apply to the video quality. We were blown away by the Hi-Res audio that gives you studio-quality sound right from the comfort of your home. This is particularly evident when you’re listening to music.
The Blu Ray disc player picks up even the most subtle nuances and transmits them to the speakers. It almost feels as though the artist is performing right where you are.
One of our favorite things about the UBP-X700M is how versatile it is when it comes to streaming VOD content. Unlike most Blu Ray players on the market, this unit features MIMO technology that allows for fast and stable 4K streaming via Wi-Fi. You don’t have to worry about your favorite shows freezing up when you get to the good parts.
Overall, this Blu Ray player is the best in its class. If video clarity is a top priority for you, this is the device you need to get. If you want a device with similar specs in the $50 range, this used Sony BDP-S5100 would be your best bet.
- It streams TV and movies in 4k and Dolby Vision, respectively
- Upscales lower resolution formats to HD
- It plays virtually any file and disc format
- Relies on dual HDMI outputs for clearer picture and audio quality
- It comes with an HDMI cable for easy setup
- The remote that comes with the unit is quite small and can be challenging for visually-impaired users
- See the unrivalled visual clarity of 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray
- Play almost any disc and file format
- Stunning picture with 4K upscaling up to 60p
LG BP350 Blu Ray Player – Best for Connectivity Options
- Dimensions:93 x 10.79 x 3.03 inches
- Connector type: HDMI
- Connectivity technology: Wi-Fi, HDMI, USB
- Audio output mode: Hi-res audio
LG is a well-known brand with a proven track record of producing high-quality electronics built to stand the test of time. The company’s continued innovation and superior production standards are evident in the BP350 Blu Ray player.
The product bundle comes with a Blu Ray Disc & DVD player and a high-quality Alphasonik HDMI cable. The playback it delivers is nothing short of exceptional. It plays Blu Ray discs in full HD 1080p quality with stunning, high-resolution audio output.
We particularly like the fact that this unit also supports DVD playback, which isn’t something you often come across with most of the Blu Ray players on the market. This means that you don’t have to toss out your DVD collection to enjoy reruns of your favorite movies.
The other great thing about the BP350 is all the different connectivity technology it supports. It comes with built-in Wi-Fi allowing you to connect to the internet and enjoy your favorite online content. You don’t have to worry about a jumbled-up mess of wires. Simply connect to your wireless broadband network and start streaming.
The BP350 is also Smart Hi-Fi compatible, meaning you can connect it to your speakers wirelessly and play music from your USB or CD. All in all, the performance of this Blu Ray player was nothing short of outstanding. The versatility you get through the various connectivity technologies it supports is unmatched.
Consider this pre-owned LG BP350 for a cheaper alternative if you’re looking for a Blu Ray player under $50. Other equally good models include LG UBK and LG UBK90.
- It comes with an HDMI cable that delivers 1080p image quality
- Supports different connectivity options, including Wi-Fi, HDMI, and USB
- Quick and easy setup
- Compatible with Smart Hi-Fi
- High-resolution audio output
- It tends to freeze up when streaming in 4k
- The product is a bundle of 1 LG BP350 Blu-ray Disc & DVD Player and 1...
- Plays Blu-ray & DVDs Make the most of your HDTV. Blu-ray disc playback...
- Built-In Wi-Fi Connecting your LG A/V product to the Internet and the...
Panasonic DP-UB820 K Blu Ray Player – Best for Smart Features
- Dimensions:06 x 16.9 x 2.5 inches
- Connector type: HDMI cable
- Connectivity technology: HDMI, Wi-Fi
- Audio output mode: Hi-res audio
The Panasonic DP UB 820-K is another favorite. The home theater experience we got from this particular Blu Ray player was outstanding in every regard. Whether you’re enjoying your collection of special edition DVDs or streaming your favorite VOD content on streaming apps like Netflix, Apple TV, Fire TV, Amazon Prime video, or any other streaming service, the DP-UB820-K does it all.
One of the things that stood out to us was the built-in smart features it came with. It is one of the few Blu Ray players on the market that supports Alexa and Google Assistant. You don’t have to rely solely on your remote to play, pause, rewind, skip to the next scene, and so forth. Simply use voice commands to get it to do what you need it to do.
The color quality and detail you get with this Blu Ray HD player are outstanding in every regard. It runs on Panasonic’s proprietary Hollywood Cinema Experience (HCX) technology for high-precision 4k Chroma processing. This means you get more detail, crisp images, natural textures, and deep colors for a truly cinematic viewing experience.
The Studio Master Sound output is something else that really stood out. The DP-UB820 K Blu Ray player was designed to deliver high-resolution DTS HD master audio output and is also compatible with most surround audio systems. The unit supports several HDR formats, including HDR10, HDR10+, and Hybrid Log-Gamma (HLG).
All in all, the DP-UB820-K is exceptional in every regard. If you’re looking for something more or less similar to this unit and retails for around $50, the Panasonic DMP-BD89 Blu Ray player is an excellent used alternative to consider and is quite similar to the Panasonic DVD S700.
- Streams in 4K UHD Blu Ray cinematic style quality
- It is compatible with Alexa and Google Assistant
- Connects to wireless networks to stream VOD content
- High-resolution sound output
- Supports several HDR formats
- It does not play SACD discs
- Premium 4K Ultra HD Blu Ray Player for a Spectacular Home Theater...
- Smart and Streaming Features: Works with Alexa and Google Assistant...
- Stunning Color and Detail: Exclusive Panasonic Hollywood Cinema...
How to Choose the Best Blu Ray Player Under 50 Bucks– Buying Guide
With so many different options for Blu Ray players on the market, choosing the right one can be a daunting task, especially when you don’t know what features to look for. Below are a few tips to keep in mind when shopping for the best one.
Disk Formats Supported
Most of the Blu Ray players on the market are designed to play standard DVDs and Blu Ray disc formats. It’s always a good idea to pick a player that supports a wide range of disc formats, including CDs with mp3 files, commercially released CDs, WMA, JPEG, or even DVD-/+/R/RW discs. Look out for Blu Ray players marked “universal.” These models can play DVD-audio discs and SACD discs in higher resolution.
Video Quality Upscaling
Blu Ray players are designed to be backward compatible with DVDs. This means you can still watch older DVD disc movies on a new Blu Ray player.
Look out for devices that support upconversion. Blu Ray players with this feature can convert DVDs in standard definition to 1080p high-definition resolution. Upconversion or upscaling quality can never be as good as TrueHD resolution since the player is essentially filling the gaps with information to create better quality video playback.
The question becomes how effectively the player question does this. Some devices are more effective at doing this than others.
One of the things that set Blu Ray players apart from ordinary DVD players isn’t just the high video quality you get, but the superior audio output as well. Look out for Blu Ray players that support a wide range of audio formats aside from the standard Dolby Digital and DTS. Other audio formats a good player should work with include Dolby DTS-HD and TrueHD.
As home theater systems continue becoming more and more cutting edge, newer 4k displays are being developed for cinematic Ultra HD Blu Ray movie viewing at home. The downside to this is that most 4k displays cost a pretty penny.
If you’re a home video enthusiast looking to get a cinema-like movie experience without breaking the bank to do it, ensure you get a Blu Ray player with built-in 4k upscaling capabilities. That way, it upscales media files to 4k-level movie effects without having to get a Smart TV to do it.
If you intend to stream Video-on-Demand (VOD) content, the Blu Ray player you get needs to support Wi-Fi connectivity. While most standard players allow you to connect them to your modem or router via an Ethernet cable, you can see how this would be a problem if the two devices are located in different rooms. Getting a Blu Ray player with built-in Wi-Fi connectivity makes the connection more convenient.
What is the difference between a Blu Ray player and a regular DVD player?
The key difference between the two devices has to do with the video resolution each of them supports. DVD players are compatible with the standard definition resolution format (480i). On the other hand, Blu Ray players support up to 1080p HDTV resolution. Blu Ray players are the only existing high-definition disc alternatives to DVDs.
What happens if you put a Blu Ray disc on a DVD player?
Absolutely nothing – the reason being that a DVD player is not designed to read the video and audio information embedded in Blu Ray discs or Xbox One S discs. These discs generally have more information embedded within them than CDs and DVDs. A Blu Ray player, on the other hand, can read a DVD.
Is buying a Blu Ray player worth it?
Yes, it is if picture and audio quality matters a great deal to you. While there’s nothing wrong with streaming 4k content, there’s no harm in going the extra mile to get a high-resolution, cinematic-quality viewing experience in the comfort of your home. The Sony UBP X, Sony UBP X700, and Sony UBP X800 are some excellent Blu Ray player options.
There you have it – the best Blu Ray players on the market right now. While any of the options we’ve reviewed in this guide would make an excellent choice, nothing beats what the Sony BD player series brings to the table. Its performance as far as video and audio quality goes is unmatched.